Rah Rah Profile Page
|Cover||Artist / Album||Category||Rating||User Rating||Buy|
|Rock / Pop||4.5/5||0/10|
|Cover||Artist / Album||Category||Rating||User Rating||Buy|
|Rock / Pop||4.5/5||0/10|
T. O. Snob: Thanks for taking the time to do this with us. You're playing in Toronto on May 11th and 12th. If someone hasn't seen you play before what can they expect from your show?
Erin: Energy! Maybe a wolf shirt or two, candy, sock feet, and the running man!
Kristina: One can expect songs that will break your heart, then slap you in the face and say "stop taking life so seriously" then, as you ponder how much you love life, they will scream at you to seriously consider the disadvantages of free trade and fat mayors that close down libraries, then they will send you to a cathartic place where you will want to dance yourself to death and they will there leave you with the echoing sounds of guitars, pulchritudinous harmonies of voices and delicious popping candies.
Samra: There's probably more screeching and running man content than one would expect from listening to the album...
T. O. Snob: What can people expect from the album?
Erin: The album is a really crazy/strange mix of songs. I hope that people get something different out of it the more they listen to it.
Kristina: Songs telling stories of broken hearts, prairies and other equally emotive things, in the form of screeching or dancing rock and roll with striking enigmatic vocal stylings and a hint of feel good folk.
T. O. Snob: What inspires Rah Rah song?
Erin: Having fun with friends!
Kristina: Anything from the heart. And when all our hearts come together, good music emerges like captain planet, as the planeteers combine their powers. Anything from an inside joke, to a life changing event, to love, to politics, to nonsense.
Samra: Most of the lyrics come from Mr. Burns, so I'll let him explain his part. The music comes from input from everyone, and everyone has a distinct style of playing, I would say. For example, on a given guitar part, you can really tell what's Marshall and what's Leif. Erin also plays the drums in a unique way, I can't really explain it. We work together, kind of building from different backgrounds, and I have to say that songs never really happen the way I expect them to at the beginning. It's more exciting that way.
T. O. Snob: The songs on the album can go from something light and fun like "Tentacles" to making a serious political point in what seems like light speed. Would you prefer to be known for one type of song or the other?
Erin: I don't think that we like to be known as any one type of song and that's why we like to mix it up, otherwise we might get bored.
Kristina: Social awareness and fun times are of equal merit to us Rah Rahians. Balance is key. Sometimes these things are even inseparable.
Samra: I think we would prefer to be known for a good, solid song, that's musically and lyrically interesting. I think a lot of the more playful songs on the album, (like ‘Faith', for example) do have some serious undertones beneath the jokes. ‘Fuck NAFTA' goes from trashing neoliberal economics to admiring Rembrandt in the span of thirty seconds, so it's not really one or the other.
Marshall: I don't really separate "political" songs from "love" songs or "light-hearted" songs. If you look at the great song-writers of our generation like Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan they all have this amazing ability to seamlessly blend different themes and song types. This is what I aim for in my lyrical writing because the songs are written about human experience and human experience isn't secular and divided it is complex and multi-dimensional. So, while a song on our album like ‘Fuck NAFTA' has obvious political influence, it also is tongue-in-cheek and humorous in how over the top it is. I don't actually want to "Fuck NAFTA" but, in the song, NAFTA stands to represent a greater capitalist system of thinking which the song works to challenge. In the second verse the suggestion is that everything is not black and white like a Rembrandt painting and as NAFTA-esque politics would lead us to believe. Therefore, the song is not solely about a political philosophy it it also about art, love, humor, and the general human experience.
T. O. Snob: Where did the concept for "Duet for Emmylou and the Grievous Angel" come from? Who's the Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris fan?
Marshall: I'm a big Gram Parsons and Emmylou fan. When I wrote the lyrics for the song I think I felt a parallel between Gram and Emmylou and Erin (who sings the duet with me) and I. In my opinion, Gram and Emmylou made music for all the right reasons which I admire in anybody. They were also young and reckless, not that Erin and I are that reckless but we are naive enough to try and make a living making music... Gram also came from the South in a time that rock music was dominated by the major Northern centers. Similarly, coming from Saskatchewan, there is this extra challenge for Rah Rah to try and relate to people from the big cities of Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary despite a different cultural and political background. The most successful Regina rock band has been Kenny Shields and Streetheart and that is freaking sad because there is a lot of great talent here that just never seems to find a wider audience.
Erin: I remember going down to Marshall's basement one day and he was so excited to show me a new song that he wrote as a duet. I instantly fell in love with it and will probably never get tired of performing it live. It has taken on a life of its own!!
T. O. Snob: Would you rather be recording or touring?
Erin: If we could do both it would be great!
Kristina: Both have their upsides and downsides. The one thousand months our last record took to record ended up being rather painful and frustrating at times while rather blissful good times with friends at others, as well as tour can be hard to manage a six way marriage for extended periods of time, while it is a mirthful bruhaha at other times. I think we are all unbearably ecstatic and ready for this upcoming tour as well as for the two weeks of recording in Montreal in between.
Samra: Touring for sure! Last time we recorded, it took somewhere around eight months. We were really meticulous. A lot of us were in school, so we would come in to Rob Morrison's studio at different times. Lucky for us, Rob is a super entertaining guy, so even if you were the only one working on tracks, you'd still have fun. This June we will be taking a couple of weeks to do some recording with Kees Dekker in Montreal, so the time constraints should force us to a lot more recording together, which I think will be great for the overall energy of the next album, in addition to the fact that we're all really excited about the new songs. Rah Rah's strength is in the energy that builds when we are all together in one space, so it will always be no contest for tour. We grow most as a band when we are playing together, and travelling together helps to build the bonds that make songs and performances better. More jokes, more dancing, and less time to analyze your actions. Tour wins, hands down.
T. O. Snob: What's the song writing dynamic within the band like? Is it democratic, done by consensus, or is there one person who takes the lead?
Erin: Marshall used to take a lot of the lead, but nowadays, everyone seems to have their own turn at the helm. I really enjoy co-writing songs, I invest more of myself in them that way and its way way way more fun.
Kristina: Although it may have differed in earlier Rah Rah eras, we have been writing our songs as a group these days. One person might take the lead and say "Hey gang, I have a sweet new riff. Take a listen", and things just skyrocket from there. Or one or two or three people might work on something and the others join later, and we all add our own little touches or different parts. Really, different people take the lead and we build off each other and help each other, there isn't really a benevolent dictator. It's like a magical family.
Samra: Democracy, fo sho! I don't think any of us would be comfortable playing something we didn't honestly agree with, and none of us would be happy imposing such a thing on anyone else. Even if the initial idea for a song comes from one person, it's understood that once you bring it to the group, it's fair game for interpretation. We're flexible, so we work at it until everyone is happy. Strangely enough, this never seems to take that long.
T. O. Snob: So what's your problem with NAFTA?
Erin: No comment!
Kristina: Fuck it, that's what. 21st century socialism is where it's at.
Samra: Regional trade agreements do have their benefits, but I think the terms of NAFTA are unfair and hypocritical. For people concerned with reducing inequality, anything that exacerbates poverty and people's inability to feed themselves is a problem. Flooding the Mexican market with cheaply subsidized corn that makes it impossible for small-scale farmers to continue their way of life while our governments point fingers at protectionist policies is morally reprehensible. MNC subcontracting to avoid environmental regulations and labour rights is also questionable, and the rampant employee abuse that goes on in maquiladoras in the name of cheap exports should be enough to make anyone skeptical of the virtues of neoliberalism.
T. O. Snob: When I interviewed Mike from Library Voices he mentioned you as one of the band's from Regina to watch. Who would you recommend?
Samra: First off, shout out to Library Voices! They have given us a lot of support, and that's really indicative of the Regina scene as a whole. There are a lot of great things going on in the Queen City right now. Look out for Molten Lava, Andy Shauf, Polymaths, Hot Blood Bombers and Def3, to name a few. Our friend, Kyrie Kristmanson, who is currently based out of Ottawa/ France is also doing big things.
Erin: The dudes from Molten Lava are doing some really incredible things...watch out West Coast!
Kristina: Only the Cathartic Lupins (just kidding).
T. O. Snob: Being a Toronto-centric individual, it seems like the Regina scene has sprung out of nowhere. Why do you think it's taken off recently?
Erin: I don't think that it has just taken off recently, the Saskatchewan music scene has been doing some really fantastic things for a long time. Now with big successes like the Library Voices, maybe people are starting to take us a little more seriously.
Samra: I think that it's always been going on, but the ease of promoting music has just made it more visible on a national scale. There are blogs, and Facebook, and supportive music networks like Radio3. Regina has been home to a lot of great bands over the years, but before all these things, they weren't that easy to find. There's also an exponential growth process involved with general band know-how. If one group has done an album or organized a tour, they pass on that knowledge to newer bands who in turn help later bands, and on and on and on.... It's like a population graph where the initial levels are quite low, and then suddenly conditions are ripe for a surge and the line skyrockets (sorry for the nerdspeak, I'm still in final exam mode). It's also the nature of prairie living. A flat landscape that's below minus twenty for nearly half the year bodes well for creativity and social interaction.
T. O. Snob: There are several songs on the album, particular "Winter Sun", on which the vocals sound a lot like Gord Downie to me. Is there a Hip influence there at all or is it coincidence...or am I crazy?
Kristina: Not crazy at all my friend.
Marshall: That's funny cause that's the first time I've heard that but the Hip was the first band that I truly fell in love with. I would have been about 12 and I listened to Day for NIght everyday for about 3 months. I still love them and have been really enjoying their newest record these last couple weeks. I still go to see them every time they come through as well - they are such a great live show.
T. O. Snob: If you could tour with anyone playing today who would those dream tour mates be?
Erin: TV on the Radio, the Great Lake Swimmers, Said the Whale, dd/mm/yyyy, Wintersleep... the list goes on!
Kristina: It's only a matter of time before Neil Young calls us up and asks us to tour with him.
Samra: Well, every member would probably give you a different answer. At this point in time, I'm going to have to go with Neil Young. Kristina (Rah Rah's violin player) and I drove to Lethbridge two days ago with a couple of friends to catch the show, and we seriously contemplated making a sign that said "HANG OUT WITH US!" If Neil's not available, we'd answer Jeff Tweedy's calls. Also, we are on tour when TV on the Radio come to Saskatchewan, but will be in Montreal when they are. I think Leif emailed them last week about opening for them. He's also emailed Obama.
T. O. Snob: If someone looked through your CD collection what would they be most surprised to see?
Erin: Jamiroquai, Lorenna McKennit, and Dolly Parton. My entire music selection is one giant guilty pleasure...
Samra: No one who has been to a show would be surprised to find Wu-Tang at my house, since I wear my C.R.E.A.M. shirt to shows. Listening to the album, I guess that influence is not as visible.
T. O. Snob: Is there anything you'd like to add?
Erin: I love you!
Samra: Cash Rules Everything Around Me!
T. O. Snob: Thanks again for taking the time to do this for us. I'm looking forward to your show.
Samra: Thank you, and we'll see you there! You should bring some Pop Rocks.